Euro 2024: France, Spain and England wail their way into the semi-finals

Euro 2024: France, Spain and England wail their way into the semi-finals
Euro 2024: France, Spain and England wail their way into the semi-finals

In France, people are moaning about the superstar, England is mocking its coach and in Spain, the captain’s wife is coming to her husband’s aid. How about a bit of Mertesacker-esque modesty?

As a German football fan, you still haven’t really gotten used to it, even days after the bitter European Championship exit. On Tuesday, you will be particularly painfully aware that the tournament will continue – without Germany. What we are left with is moaning. About missed opportunities, alleged mistakes in the line-up and, of course, first and foremost about the referee. Handball by Spaniard Marc Cucurella. Everything has been said.

But moaning and complaining is part of it – at least for the losers. After all, we have a reason to do so. But what is striking these days when you look at the nations that are still in the tournament is that they are all unhappy.

Superstar Mbappe was called “unworthy of a captain” by French legend Emmanuel Petit on Tuesday. The new signing from Real Madrid was “not up to par”. In Spain, captain Alvaro Morata is a constant target of the media and angry social media fans. The newspaper “El Confidencial” recently headlined: “Morata, a captain who not only shames Spain because of his poor performance at the European Championships”. In England, it is mainly coach Gareth Southgate who is being criticized. He manages to squeeze the minimum performance out of a highly talented squad game after game and lets the ensemble around Bellingham, Kane and Co. play far too defensively.

Euro 2024: At least you can still get excited!

Of course, this criticism is not unfounded – my colleague Moritz Hermann has written here about how abysmal the overall standard of this European Championship was. Nevertheless, as a German football fan, you would like to shout: I would love to have your problems!

There is moaning and complaining, but to quote former Chancellor Helmut Kohl: “What matters is what comes out at the end.” In this case, that is the semi-finals of a European Championship, at least. Being among the four best teams in Europe. The chance to watch two great knockout games to get excited about. I would give my right arm (and Cucurella’s left arm) to be able to sit spellbound in front of the TV one more time on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Almost all of the great successes in German football history were, well, not exactly conjured up. Rugged football and winning in the end was the nation’s proud motto for a long time. Apart from the 2014 World Cup title, perhaps. But as we all know today, that was not the start of a glorious new era. It was more like the beginning of the end.

In the spirit of Per Mertesacker’s legendary ice bucket speech, our neighbors should go back to the basics of the game. In the end, it’s not always the most beautiful football that wins, but rather the one who scores one more goal than the opponent – and that includes penalties and own goals.

Source: Stern

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